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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Mecca: 'Find the bastards, and pile on'

Far from his wife and newborn, John Butler kept finding himself in the battlefield with one set of instructions: "Find the bastards, and pile on."

July 22, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Sky riders

The cavalry still mount their steeds, but these horses are of a motorized breed. In Vietnam the mounts were named Loach, Huey, Cobra, Osage, Chinook, Mohawk and the superseded Raven (achieved recognition in three early James Bond films). These hi-tech mounts could saddle up more than just one soldier and the cavalrymen gripping the reins were some of the bravest of the brave in Southeast Asia.

July 15, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Welcome to the land of peaceful frontiers

Seventeen-year-old Macon native Ron Holmes received the displeasing news upon high school graduation in June of 1963 - his appointment to the Air Force Academy had been denied because of a new prerequisite that required uncorrected 20/20 vision.

July 08, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A Fourth for hope

"My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy. I confess I had no idea of it myself. While we shall see multiple instances of Europeans going to live in America, I will venture to say no man now living will ever witness an instance of an American removing to settle in Europe and continuing there."

July 03, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Mecca: The lucky ones

A 1959 movie 'Pork Chop Hill' starring Gregory Peck depicted the costly 1953 battle for a rocky hill during the last year of the Korean War. Pork Chop Hill had, in fact, snuffed out numerous lives before 1953. This is the story of one survivor, born and raised in Rockdale County.

July 01, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Hold hands & take the high ground

Taking the 'high ground' has been a basic military strategy since man started throwing rocks at each other. A force controlling the heights controls the battlefield, in combat as well as surveillance. American history was built on high ground, from graceful rises to gentle slopes, from ridges, cliffs and hills to lofty mountains.

June 24, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: He entered the war a boy, left a man

Henry Lee Gaddis was 11 years old on Dec. 7, 1941. "I remember when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the president declared war on Japan," he said. "We moved from Cherokee County into Atlanta so my dad could work for a dairy. Everything was rationed, sugar, flour, gas … but we did okay."

June 17, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Red, White and Blue

White signifies purity and innocence; Red, hardiness and valor; and Blue, the justice, vigilance, and perseverance of the United States of America.

June 12, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The bravest of the brave

Throughout the course of nearly 250 years of American Military History, only 3,468 service personnel have received the decoration, 621 of them posthumously. The award is called the Medal of Honor.

June 10, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A D-DAY TRIBUTE

The approval to commence the liberation of Europe rested entirely on his shoulders. For a brief moment in history, one man controlled the leash restraining an invasion fleet of 5,000 warships jam-packed with 170,000 Allied soldiers; many vessels were already at sea. Over 10,500 aircraft poised on runways all over England waited impatiently for the word "go." Tensions were high, morale at risk if another 'stand down' delay was issued.

June 05, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


One American family

Michael Barry Turner arrived in Vietnam on February 11, 1968, smack-dab in the middle of the largest Communist offensive of the war. The Tet Offensive kicked off on January 31 at the beginning of a mutually understood 'ceasefire' by the belligerents for the yearly Vietnamese celebration. This year, however, the Communists used the sabbatical as their launch date for a nationwide assault.

June 03, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: The story of Will Roy Weston, part two

September of 1943: Will Weston with the 32 man crew of the wooden-hulled mine sweeper YMS-184 enters the Pacific Theater of Operations. The small ship is destined to participate in the most horrific battles of WWII.

May 27, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


Tuskegee Airman on the fight to serve

World War II brought out extraordinary feats of valor, service and sacrifice of everyday Americans. But during this time, many servicemen and women found themselves fighting for freedom abroad while at home they were denied the basic freedoms and dignities they had defended.

June 18, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


‘Punchy’ pilot made Germans pay

If necessary, a flight surgeon was authorized to give the pilots pep pills to keep them flying. More than 1,000 fighter aircraft would create a wall of protection from treetop level to 30,000 feet. The men on the beaches were to be protected at all costs. The date was June 6, 1944, the Allied invasion of Europe.

June 11, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Veteran's Story: From baseball to bombings

To say Yellow Brick House resident John Slavik came from humble beginnings is a misrepresentation of European history. A 'multi-cultural' beginning is closer to the truth.

June 06, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Rickenbacker outfoxed grim reaper time and again

A fighter in every sense of the word, "The Great Indestructible" expired in a country that hasn't fought a war since 1847 and is internationally-known for its neutrality. He failed in several commercial adventures before succeeding marvelously in the business world. President Franklin D. Roosevelt disliked the man and declined to meet with him on numerous occasions, which may be understandable since The Great Indestructible publicly criticized FDR and continuously referred to him as a "Socialist."

June 06, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Vietnam vet saw plenty of combat

After graduating from St. Joseph's Nursing School in Atlanta, Newton County native Delores Haney did her pediatric rotation at the Children's Hospital in Cincinnati. There she met a young man from Xavier College who was paying educational expenses by working as a bartender.

June 04, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Vietnam vet saw brutal action, bravery

An NVA machine gun opened up as he walked point across a rice paddy.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Surviving the Day of Infamy

Hamilton Field near San Francisco: 9 p.m. Unarmed and unescorted, with fuel tanks filled to the max, 13 B-17 Flying Fortresses take off at 15- minute intervals.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Marine recon survives brutal Pacific battles

The Hawaiian Islands and Philippine Archipelagos were familiar in name only to most Americans on Dec. 7, 1941, but even fewer recognized the names of locations where men died: Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Bataan, and Corregidor, to mention a few.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Fighting for justice at Guadalcanal

After Pearl Harbor, African-Americans wanted to fight for their country. A select few obtained the toughest training available: the U.S. Marine Corps.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Surviving 'Anzio Annie'

The Germans were completely surprised as Allied forces swarmed ashore at 2 a.m. Jan. 22, 1944, near the Italian prewar resort towns of Anzio and Nettuno. With almost no opposition, the Anglo-American armies pushed inland and secured a 15-mile stretch of Italian beach.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Lightning in a bottle

Mother Nature couldn't claim this streak of Lightning; it was created by Lockheed's celebrated designer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and proved to be one of the best American fighters of World War II.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Surviving the 'Burning Grave'

During the Civil War, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman suffered a ''breakdown" and was sent home on leave to recover. A sufferer of depression and mood swings, Sherman endured the humiliation of being labeled ''insane'' by the Cincinnati Commercial newspaper. At Vicksburg, journalists referred to Sherman as a "lunatic."

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Miracle over Europe

As in life, there are miracles in war. Jim Armstrong's exploits as a B-17 pilot speak volumes about amazing survival, but one of his waist gunners, Olen Grant, lived to tell a story beyond belief.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Missing in the jungles of Burma

Minnie Lee Williams refused to accept the notion her son would never return from World War Two. She took in laundry to help augment her husband's earnings from his shoe repair shop on Green Street in Olde Town Conyers and on occasion took out her son's clothes, too. Minnie washed and ironed Johnny's clothes as if he still lived at home, as if he would still be coming home, as if he was still alive.

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Hitting the silk over Burma

From an editorial in the New York Times on Dec. 15, 1944: "Big strike on railroad marshaling yards in Rangoon by B-29 bombers causes devastating results. No B-29s were lost."

May 28, 2013 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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